You are here

#MeToo Moves to the Workplace

Low Wage Workers, Safety, Labor and Women’s Groups Say   it’s “Our Turn”; Vow to End Sexual Harassment on the Job

Sign the  Our Turn  â€œCommitment to Unity and Action.”  

San Diego- Janitors, factory workers, farmworkers and other low-wage workers joined with safety, labor, anti-violence and women’s rights advocates to announce today the launch of “Our Turn,” a new alliance to put a halt to sexual abuse and harassment, with a special focus on low-wage and vulnerable workers.

” width=”560″ height=”314″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”>

“It’s inspiring to see movie stars and media celebrities talk about the terrible incidents they have faced in their workplaces,” said Veronica Lagunas, a janitor in Los Angeles and a member of SEIU-United Service Workers West (USSW). “A lot of us who earn a regular paycheck face the same problems, like sexual assault and physical and verbal abuse. It’s our turn to unite and take action to stop the abuse, and hold abusers accountable.”

Our Turn will unite workers, community allies and organizations across the country who are fighting-and winning- new protections against abuse and harassment in union contracts, state laws, municipal ordinances and company policies.

“For far too long, sexual harassment and other forms of abuse have been rampant in workplaces of all kinds,”said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).  â€œI” m glad to stand side-by-side with working people committed to ending it.”

Our Turn  was convened by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the nation’s leading grassroots advocate for workplace safety.  Following a kickoff Assembly earlier this month, attended by impacted workers and organizations,   more than 100 organizations and individuals have already signed on to the  Our Turn  â€œCommitment to Unity and Action.”    Our Turn founding members are inviting the public and organizations to sign on and lend their support by visiting the website,

Lagunas, the janitor, reported an incident of stalking and harassment in her workplace and found herself transferred to another location while her abuser experienced no consequences.  Along with members of SEIU-USWW, she joined with other advocates who successfully lobbied the California legislature to pass legislation in 2016 requiring companies employing janitors and other property service workers to conduct in- person sexual violence and harassment prevention training for workers and supervisors.

The Our Turn steering committee includes representatives from COSH groups, labor unions, women’s organizations, and community-based organizations.  Commitments include a pledge by participating organizations to:

  • Support workplace, community and political organizing;
  • Advocate for laws and policies that protect workers and provide tools for prevention of abuse and harassment;
  • Elevate stories of workers who have fought back against abuse;
  • Hold government agencies and employers accountable for harassment and violence in workplaces they oversee.

“The movement to end sexual violence is growing- and Our Turn brings together workers’ rights, women’s rights, and anti-violence organizations to support survivors and workers in taking back their workplaces,” said Linda Seabrook, General Counsel and Director of Workplace Safety & Equity for Futures Without Violence, a national social justice organization dedicated to ending violence against women. “We need to  assist survivors of sexual harassment and violence — and all workers —   as they advocate for lasting changes to workplace culture.”

“Low-wage workers are fed up are saying loud and clear, ” We will not tolerate abuse as a condition of earning a living,” said National COSH co-executive director Jessica Martinez. “This is a basic issue of workplace safety. Every worker- regardless of race, gender, income or sexual orientation- has a fundamental right to a workplace free from abuse and harassment.”

The Our Turn initiative, said Martinez, will build on the decades of experience engaging workers as leaders, united with labor and community allies, in organizing and winning critical safety protections in workplaces and public policy arenas across the country.  The new coalition will mobilize members and allies to promote workplace organizing, legislative advocacy and hands-on training, and also serve as a national clearinghouse for best practices and policies to prevent workplace sexual violence and abuse.

For more information, visit  The Our Turn pledge is available at

* * *

National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit  Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.

View our Privacy Policy  

Contact NationalCOSH